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March 28, 2022
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Flammable Storage Cabinets

Flammable storage cabinets are designed to protect their contents from fire. They work by limiting the internal temperature of the cabinets for short periods of time.

Storing Flammable Liquids

The quantity of flammable liquids that may be stored outside of an inside room or storage cabinet in a building or fire area may not exceed:

  • 25 gallons of Category 1 liquids in containers.
  • 120 gallons of Category 2, 3, or 4 liquids in containers.
  • 660 gallons of Category 2, 3, or 4 liquids in a portable tank.

A flammable liquid has a flashpoint at or below 199.4 °F (93 °C). A liquid’s flash point is the temperature at which an organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air. Flammable liquids are divided into four categories:

  • Category 1 - flashpoints below 73.4 °F (23 °C); boiling 95 °F (35 °C)
  • Category 2 - flashpoints below 73.4 °F (23 °C); boiling point > 95 °F (35 °C)
  • Category 3 - flashpoints 73.4 °F (23 °C) and 140 °F (60 °C)
  • Category 4 - flashpoints > 140 °F (60 °C) and ≤ 199.4 °F (93 °C)


OSHA requires that metal flammable cabinets be constructed as follows:

  • The bottom, top and sides of the cabinet must be at least No. 18 gauge sheet iron.
  • The cabinet must be double walled with one and a half inches of airspace between walls.
  • Joints must be riveted, welded, or made tight by an equally effective means.
  • Doors must have a three-point latch.
  • Doors must be raised at least two inches above the cabinet bottom to retain spilled liquid within the cabinet.
  • The cabinet must be labeled “Flammable Liquids – Keep Fire Away.”


  • Locate storage cabinets away from hot work activities such as cutting, grinding, and welding that can ignite flammable vapors.
  • Do not locate cabinets in the exit path from a building. A fire within or around the cabinet can prevent people from accessing escape routes.
  • Avoid locating cabinets under stairways, especially those that lead to an exit.
  • Refrain from storing combustible or flammable items adjacent to or on top of cabinets.


Flammable storage cabinets must be grounded when dispensing flammable liquids from a container within the cabinet. Although grounding flammable liquid storage cabinets is not always required, it is highly recommended. Static build-up can be dangerous.

For more information consult OSHA 29CFR 1910.106 Flammable Liquids

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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